Roommates are good for two things: 1) bringing down the price for rent, and upping your standard of living and 2) fucking shit up.
Let’s address the first, and arguably the most important reason for having a roommate. Rent isn’t cheap, and the closer you get to anything desirable (be it the beach, downtown hot spots, or the garden of eden) the rates go up accordingly. Case in point: Los Angeles. The average rent in the county of Los Angeles for a one bedroom apartment is 1,397 a month, a price that nobody can reasonably afford getting paid a reasonable wage and expecting to continue living a reasonable lifestyle. 1,397 a month…for RENT! This isn’t including internet [which im stealing as we speak perched atop a dumpster adjacent to a korean meat market, the smell of festering trash has been thrown in at no additional cost], cable, utilities [you know, that garbage can I haven’t touched for over a month…yet i’m charged 74$ every two months for!] and other basic necessities….like FOOD! [and booze…plenty of it]
It is easy to see the economic interest in having a roommate. Split the rent, share the cost of living, and enjoy a slightly higher standard while doing so…who knows, you might even get new carpet!
But now there is the second, and much more ugly side of having a roommate: Seriously fucking with your mental stability, at every moment they possibly can, for no – and every apparent reason.
Having been a firm advocate of roommates in the past due to my innate desire to be lazy when it comes to making friends, it was always easier to live with everyone I needed to hang out with so I never had to go anywhere in order to enjoy the company of others. This is an extremely common way for people in their twenties to exist, and we can all see why. Everything is fine and dandy so long as everyone respects each others space and sanity, and the rent gets paid!
So what happens when johnny refuses to do the dishes, or ted loses his job, or that smell you thought was the garbage disposal turns out to be the chamber pot in steven’s closet? The ceremonial toss out!
Sure, by this point you’ve probably all sat down and discussed ways of making everyone’s needs known, and came to many solutions for any of the pertinent issues, but this type of diplomacy doesn’t always pan out. So you have to go gestapo on they ass!
So now you’ve removed the perpetrator by force, or casual coercion – and you have of course collected all delinquent moneys/confiscated anything of value in return for their vacancy and you are curious as to what to do next. The first step is to decide whether or not you need to fill the void with another useless pile of flesh/sack of cash – OR – enjoy your new found liberation.
If you are in the worst case scenario, you’ve locked yourself into an iron clad year long rental agreement and you are now condemned to spend upwards of your entire income in order to maintain your current residence. Or, if you safeguarded yourself against this situation and decided to live in squalor regardless of how many people you can cram into a terrible apartment, you are paying slightly less than most people generally do and now you get to walk around naked [and prepare to be broke as hell]!
That’s right, the number one perk of living by yourself is the rampant nudity! I never even knew I liked walking around in the buff before I threw someone out of my house. I can eat melted ice cream off a paper plate in the living room while wearing my birthday suit with zero disturbances. There will never be that awkward moment between stepping out of the shower and scampering like Usain Bolt to your room after realizing you forgot your towel. Your neighbors will never be the same.
So now that you’ve lost the scapegoat to blame all of the dirty dishes and someone to pawn bathroom duties on, what do you do to fill the void?
Well, if you’re like me, you have a lot of time on your hands, and not a whole lot of money [re: broke as shit from three paragraphs above], and no immediate desire to move someone into that empty space. So I did some research and decided to look into building a camera obscura [after getting denied access previously on account of I’m ‘not an old person’ (statement made by a security guard at the senior recreation center in Santa Monica in response to ‘can we go in there?’)].
What is a camera obscura you may ask? Well, it’s an optical device that projects an image of it’s surroundings onto a screen [or in this case….a wall…thanks wikipedia]. It’s basically a room size pin hole camera that will allow the outside world to be projected inside your dark bedroom like a virtual window….and to get started…we need to cover that window!
I kind of winged the entire idea, but the basic steps were as follows:
1. Throw out roommate
2: Get cardboard
3.Tape cardboard over the window, making sure to black out any leaks.
4.Re-tape over some of the spots because I did a terrible tape job and light was still shining through
5.Poke a pencil sized hole in the cardboard allowing light to flood in.
7.Wonder why the hell this isn’t working.
So after taping everything up, it was dusk and there was no light to project. So I had to wait until the next morning. It looked a lot like this:
9:13 a.m. – It works!
I didn’t have much time to admire my handy work, but I stuck my head in and saw the beautiful site of my neighbors house projected elegantly [and upside down] on my former roommates wall! I am science!
So I took a couple photos, and due to my lack of photography skills, they came out about as well as the camera obscura did.
[you can see the white lattice and the window of my neighbors house, along with the siding in this image that is projected onto the wall/door opposite the window…this is the result of ‘enough time to build a camera obscura – but not enough time/patience to document it]
So there you go, turn your favorite room into a camera obscura, invite some friends over to drink beer inside said camera obscura, and enjoy the view of whatever lies right outside your window!
[or, just open your window]
What will I do with the room next? Suggestions are welcome!